Durban-Gold Sands Of A Town, Close To The Port
Durban or Ethekwini („the port close to the town“ in Zulu language) is the third biggest town of South Africa and the greatest port at the same time. Thanks to warm subtropiocal climate and magnificent beaches, this locality belongs to one of most popular relax places not only for local inhabitants but also for numerous tourists from all over the world. The town has approx. 3,5 millions of inhabitants.
Rocky paintings and other artefacts discovered in Durban territory gave its evidence about a fact that the ancestors of today´s inhabitants were settled there just in so called Stone Era. Much more later, when the people looked for more fertile territories, Nguni Clan moved from Central Africa into Kwa Zulu - Natal Region. The Zulu, Swazi and Ndbele became their descendands. Vasco da Game, the Portuguese seafarer, landed, during Christmas time period of 1497, at, by European unknown area, which named as „Christmas State („Terra da Natal“ in Portuguese language). Later, in 1820, Mr. Shaka, a King of Zulu Clan, got a control over this territory. In 1823, James King and Francis Farewell, the lieutenants of British army, marked in maps Natal Bay, starting to do business with King Shaka, by means of suppoprt and help of businessman Henry Francis Fynn (he healed this opposed King in past). Finally, both men, Fynn and King, obtained, as a reward for their advantageous business, another territory for business activities. However, King Shaka was killed later, despite the fact that he tried to unite all shattered clans in the course of his life. In 1835, white colonizers founded its capital, and named it as D´Urban (in honour of Benjamin d´Urban, future administrator of Cape colony). Anyway, within 1838, the Voortrekkers (descendends of Dutch seafarers) arrived there, with a target to establish a business locality. They declared the territory in north area of Durban as „The Republic of Natalia“ with Pietermaritzburg as a capital. However, bloody fights among Englishmen, Burs and Zulu were effected there within couple of years, terminated in 1842, and shortly afterthat, the territory was under hegemony of Cape, British colony.
At present, Durban is great industrial town, including big port and busy touring activities. Durban industry involves the construction and repair works of ships, petrol distillation and sugar working, fishing, motor vehicle assemblies, production of foodstuffs, colours, fertilizers, shoes and textiles.
Durban beaches, including its coasts, belong to biggest attractions of the town. The sands of beaches are characterized with soft golden sand, palms´ alleys and warm waters of Indian Ocean.
City Hall is most famous symbol of the town. It is a fascinating building of Renaissance style with powerful cupola and pillars. Visiting this monument, you can have a look at art gallery, Nature Sciences Museum and Public Library. Directly in front of this building, Francis Farewell Square is to be found, surrounded with numerous statues. On this place, Fynn and Farewell constructed a camp for business activities with Zulu Clan, concretely with ivory business.
Behind City Hall, you can admire Cenotaph, eleven metres high granite obelisk, erected in honour of soldiers, who were killed within the 1st World War.
Dick King statue is placed there, in honour of Natal Republic hero. In 1842, this man overcame, with his horse Somerset, the distance of 960 kms during ten days, in order to bring the reinforcement for British troops which got in troubles, besieged in Durban Old Citadel.
Vasco da Gama Tower Clock belongs to another town´s sightseeings. It is placed at the corner of Aliwal Street and Victoria Embankment. In 1897, in a year of 400th anniversary of Natal Bay discovery, (by Vasco da Gama, well-known Portuguese seafarer), the Portuguese community presented the town with this machine. The tower clock is decorated with pictures of dragons, eagle-owls and ither symbolic scenes.
Nevertheless, The Royal Hotel is the most valuable historical relic of the town. The building was open for public in 1842, and several general reconstruction were effected since that time period. Originally, this construction was made from twings and malt mixed with straw, and later, the walls were reinforced with stones. During so called „Nation Spring Period“ (1848), Prince Alfred, the second son of Vistoria, British Queen, stayed there. And after his visit there, the hotel got is name as „Royal Hotel“.
Text: Maxim Kucer
Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš
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